Yemen's Warring Sides Agree to Cease-fire in Key Port City Hodeida, UN Chief Says

Next round of talks is said to be scheduled for the end of January ■ UAE FM praises decision, says Saudi-led coalition's 'military pressure enabled this significant breakthrough'

Yemen's foreign minister Khaled al-Yamani, left, and the head rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam shake hands under the eyes of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during peace consultations taking place in Sweden, on December 13, 2018

The United Nations secretary general says Yemen's warring sides have agreed after week-long peace talks in Sweden to a province-wide cease-fire in Hodeida and a withdrawal of troops from the contested Red Sea port city.

Antonio Guterres thanked the Yemeni delegations for what he called "an important step" and "real progress toward future talks to end the conflict."

He spoke on Thursday at the closing ceremony for the talks in the Swedish town of Rimbo. A press conference is about to follow.

Guterres said to the Yemeni parties: "Thank you for coming here to discuss a better future for Yemen."

He also said that the next round of talks is planned for the end of January.

Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels hold up their weapons as they attend a gathering to show their support for the ongoing peace talks being held in Sweden, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, December 13, 2018
Hani Mohammed / AP

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash welcomed the agreement in a tweet on Thursday: "Encouraging news today from Sweden. Important political progress made including the status of Hodeida. The Coalition & Yemeni forces' military pressure enabled this significant breakthrough."

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, also welcomed the agreement.

"The agreement announced today will help bring back security to the region including the security of the Red Sea, a vital water way for international trade," he said on his twitter account, adding that he hoped Iran-allied Houthis would stop "working on behalf of the Iranian regime's interests," the ambassador said.  

The United Arab Emirates is a member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen to restore the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.